January 19, 2023

Why not Literary AND THEN Historical?

 Literary constructedness is not necessarily synonymous with fabricated or fictional, but literary constructedness in purportedly Non-Fiction writing absolutely does convey aspects of the authorial vision for whatever events they are trying to depict. In other words, when authors attempt to tell truths in ways that are biased, creative, or otherwise slanted, the style of the telling becomes part of the tale being told. 

 Therefore, one cannot understand the factual claims of an author without interpreting those claims in the light of that author’s overall literary construction. One cannot simply affirm the historicity of basic claims in the text while ignoring that text’s literarily constructed aspects. One cannot affirm differences between Mark’s Jesus and John’s Jesus (say, from the standpoint of theological emphasis) without supposing at least some ways in which Jesus was actually different from the authorial visions which Mark and John respectively (at least ostensibly) purported to be factual. 

 In sum, literary and theological approaches to the Gospels have absolutely no businesses ignoring historical Jesus scholarship.

 Excuse me. I mean, individual scholars have every right (and the understandable need) to focus on some questions at the expense of other questions, but the programmatic and comprehensive division of the entire field according to these questions or those questions, is utterly unjustifiable.

 New Testament scholars need to think more about how all these things affect one another. I have offered my opinions here on several occasions. God willing, I will do so again and again.

 And again...

No comments:

Recent Posts
Recent Posts Widget
"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton